Liverpool fell to a 3-2 defeat in their opening NextGen match against reigning champions Inter Milan in Italy on Wednesday.
The hosts took an early lead but were pegged back against the run of play as Krisztian Adorjan converted a penalty. However, a strike from Nicolo Belloni and an 80th-minute goal from Luca Garritano put the game out of sight, despite Adorjan grabbing his second as a late consolation.
The Italians fielded five players from the squad which tasted victory in last year’s edition of the competition, though their topscorer from that campaign, Samuele Longo, was absent.
Four of Liverpool’s squad had taken part in a 4-1 hammering of a Chelsea Under-21 side just four days earlier, meaning the Reds were expected to be full of confidence.
But it was Inter who started the game the stronger and took the lead in the 16th minute, when Francesco Forte made the most of a defensive error and fired the hosts into the lead.
Liverpool responded well though, and with half-an-hour gone Jerome Sinclair was fouled inside the box by Simone Pasa allowing Adorjan to step up and calmly dispatch the spot-kick.
Unfortunately for the visitors, just before half-time Inter's lead was restored. Forte turned provider this time, breaking down the left before finding Belloni who finished well.
Rodolfo Borrell rallied his Liverpool youth side at the break, and it was the Inter keeper Raffaele Dalla Veldove who became the home team’s most active player, most notably in making a fantastic save to prevent Sinclair from equalising for the Reds.
But as Liverpool pushed forward in search of a response, Inter began to create chances on the break. And with ten minutes left to play, Garritano capped a swift Inter move by beating Tyrell Belford in the Liverpool goal.
Undeterred, Liverpool’s youngsters continued to attack and got their reward in the final minutes of the match. Adorjan, who had a fine game, curled a free-kick past Dalla Veldove, but it was little more than a consolation for the visitors.
The result means Liverpool are bottom of the Group 5 table, while Inter Milan take top spot. Borussia Dortmund and Rosenborg are yet to play.